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Archives: December 2008

The Year in Publishing: February 2008

The Year in Publishing: January 2008

Marie Arana Leaves The Washington Post’s Book World

shortStack_624x110.gifAfter 15 years of editing the Washington Post Book World section, Marie Arana departed with a final post at Short Stack, the book section’s blog.

Arana is leaving the Post to pursue a full-time writing career. Her last post mourned the loss of three notable authors this year, David Foster Wallace, Arthur C. Clarke and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

She concluded with some thoughts about her paper’s traditional dedication to books coverage, calling it the best in the country. Her thoughts: “Few newspapers value books as deeply as The Washington Post does, and I consider myself fortunate to work for an institution whose owners and chief executives (the Graham family) have made their support for books coverage abundantly clear.”

Amazon Launches New Author Pages

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Amazon now offers an experimental selling tool, creating 2,500 customized selling pages for authors in the site’s new “Author Stores.” The company hopes to make the gigantic store home to webpages for all authors.

According to Publishers Weekly, the new function launched yesterday. Amazon publicity manager Andrew Herdener explained the many functions at Author Stores, noting that Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and James Patterson were among the first experimental wave of writers.

But the company has much, much bigger aspirations for the new program:

“Amazon has added a new way of finding books to its site, which the company is calling Author Stores, single pages that feature all books from a particular author, plus, in many cases, an author photo and some related content, such as a biography, message board and streaming video … Herdener also said that it’s Amazon’s long-term goal to eventually have an Author Store for every author whose books are available through Amazon.”

A Closer Look at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

macmillanLogo.gifAs the New Year nears, School Library Journal explored the consolidation and staff cuts that lead to the creation of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Henry Holt’s Dan Farley will lead the new division, bringing together seven different parts of the company. The article also looked at the new leadership of this giant new force in children’s publishing. Read it here: “[The group unites] “Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Roaring Brook Press , Feiwel and Friends, Square Fish, First Second, and Priddy Books … Assisting Farley will be Jean Feiwel, publisher of Feiwel and Friends, and Simon Boughton, publisher of Roaring Brook Press, both named as Senior Vice Presidents.”

While the restructuring resulted in 64 layoffs, one journal reader worried about more cuts in 2009. For more news about the cuts, check out GalleyCat’s reporting on the restructuring, including an exclusive interview with Jean Feiwel. (Via.)

Literary Kicks Builds Random 2008 Anthology

pv_2007.jpgThe poetry and literary website Literary Kicks has published poems by readers since 2001–building a strong community of responsive readers as well.

To celebrate the poetry published on the site in 2008, LitKicks created a randomly-generated Action Poetry anthology. Readers can click a button, letting the magical Internet choose a poem for them. It’s an interesting way to surf through large amounts of literary content.

GalleyCat’s randomly-generated selection was “Chick Lit” by sonic nurse. “Fear I’m sounding cliche, like a Billy Joel song in a sad little bar,” wrote the poet, generating response poems and passionate defenses of the Piano Man. Follow this link to find your own poems.

Twitter Storytelling

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2008 was the year of Twitter and bite-sized posts, and a number of writers have turned the micro-blogging platform into a storytelling machine.

Way back in November 2006, Smith Magazine built a bestselling six-word memoir series out of reader’s submissions, teaming up with Twitter before Twitter was cool. Here’s a sample from contributor Leslie Stevenson: “Made poor choices, lived through them.” That same year, Wired Magazine published six-word science fiction stories.

This year, Thaumatrope launched a science fiction, fantasy, and horror Twitter-zine. A sample: “The aliens told us about Santa. It didn’t matter. Because we were naughty and not nice, the aliens put us to work in the coal mines.” (Via.)

Finally, author Arjun Basu has started a collection of Twitter stories. A sample: “He thinks the recession means no more manicures. He wants to rediscover Donkey Kong. Inside the fridge, stale pizza, a six-pack and cheddar.” (Via.)

As always, this list is probably woefully incomplete. Add more micro-storytelling sites in the comments section.

Project Gutenberg Looking for Error Correcting Volunteers

project-gutenberg-logo.jpgProject Gutenberg is looking for volunteers to comb through more than 30,000 books in the foundation’s collection–erasing digital book errors for future generations of readers.

For 35 years, this group has archived thousands of books in digital format, but as founder Michael S. Hart noted, a number of errors slipped through in the transition to digital format. Now, they are looking for volunteers to help catch the mistakes.

Here’s an excerpt from the post: “Believe it or not, we have received perhaps 10,000 messages, over 37 years, encouraging us to check certain parts of book files for errors…I am asking for new members for this team to step forward to make yet one more level of contribution towards creating the best library humanity has ever seen.” (Via TeleRead.)

How To Bring Your Book To Book Clubs

g2m_logo.gifThere’s never been a better time to take your book straight to book clubs, according to a number of GalleyCat readers.

Last week, GalleyCat reported how novelists Joshua Henkin and Kelly Simmons have collectively spoken with 150 reading groups in person or by speakerphone–pioneers of the self-guided book group tour. Readers chimed in with plenty of suggestions for authors interested in created self-guided book club tours.

One reader suggested: “Webinar software such as Gotomeeting and Webex can support hundreds of listeners at a time. I’m surprised writers aren’t using this more.”

Mindy Klasky wrote: “I created the Book Groups Wiki, to facilitate authors getting in touch with book groups. Using simple templates, anyone can add their profile as an author or as a book group coordinator. Authors can indicate their willingness to travel, to meet with groups in person.”

Doreen Orion shared this experience: “I’ve ‘visited’ dozens of book clubs in this way since my humorous travel memoir, QUEEN OF THE ROAD was published by Random House this summer … I do think it’s been an effective marketing tool: My book is already in 6th printing.”

Writers Lead List of Thinking Man’s Sex Symbols

beastcover.jpgFive authors topped The Daily Beast‘s first annual “Thinking Man’s Sex Symbol” list, causing plenty of debate at the new website.

Compiled by celebrity host and journalist Toure, the list featured novelists Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith, nonfiction writer Samantha Power, and two soon-to-be bestselling authors–Sarah Silverman and Tina Fey. Those last two comedians generated big advance backlash when they secured multi-million dollar advances for upcoming books.

Here’s an excerpt from the essay: “A man has two minds. The lower mind is a brainless whore excited by any woman with breasts, curves, and a thong. The upper mind, which works with actual grey matter, is more persnickety. The upper mind, when employed, is moved by intelligence, success, power, self-confidence, a smart sense of humor, and, of course, not having a castrating nature.”

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